What Makes a Great App Commercial?

So, you’re pretty proud of the new app you’ve created. You’ve spent years thinking about the concept, brainstorming ideas, finding the right team to develop it, poring over every last detail, testing it and tweaking it to perfection. So, what’s the deal — why is nobody downloading your bit of technological brilliance? Simple… because they don’t know about it! If you haven’t invested a cent into marketing your app yet, it’s pretty much the same as throwing a party without sending out any invitations. But don’t worry, there’s an easy fix: A powerful and compelling app commercial , a form of persuasive advertising,can go a long way in letting the world know your app is out there for the taking. Driving downloads is your number one goal now.

A Great App Commercial will

Showcase your art

You spend lots of time and money on the look and feel of your app — why not show it off in a cool video so that people know what they are getting into before they download?

Demonstrate how it works

A clear and concise video will quickly and clearly reveal how an app works and convince a viewer to give it a try.

Preview gameplay

Is your app a game? Show off your gameplay experience with a video preview that’s fun to watch!

Plan Your App Video

Your app commercial functions differently from tv commercials. It should be a top-level overview of the app experience. Focus on key features with engaging content and take your viewer on a journey through the entire app experience. If you want to dive deeper into additional features or specific functions, you can do a video series with two or three commercials to cover everything.

Try organizing your video with storyboards so you can map out each scene you want to feature. Be sure to plan enough time in each video to include the most important details, but keep it short and sweet so viewers don’t get antsy.

We always recommend having a storyboard and mood board. A storyboard ensures that your commercial stays on message, without going off tangent. A mood board ensures that the video accomplishes a feel that everyone agrees on. Characteristics can manifest in many different ways for different individuals.

Here’s an example of an actual mood board Sparkhouse has created for Zivelo:

Get to the Point

Videos usually auto-play in the app store, so make sure to get your message across right away in order to grab and hold your audience’s attention. Use these few moments to show off what makes your app unique and draw the viewer in.

Keep in Mind

Opt for a Better Format

Most videos today are created with a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, but since your app video will live in app ads or within the app store, I recommend editing a version of your video in a 9:16 format instead. This will render as full-screen when a viewer is looking on their phone in the vertical position, giving them a more comfortable view.

Communicate Your Message Sans Sound

Even if your app requires the use of headphones for the full experience, most viewers who are actively searching for apps won’t have audio turned on. To get your message across to everyone, make sure your app commercial can be fully understood without audio.

Use Bold Text/Graphics

To ensure that viewers who have their sound turned off can get the complete gist of your app commercial, explain the details clearly using big, bold graphics to drive your point home. Also, if your video is viewed in the app store carousel, it won’t be full-screen, so bigger is always better when it comes to graphic size.

Stick With Age-Appropriate Content

Even if your app isn’t appropriate for everyone, your video needs to be clean since all app videos are visible to audiences of all ages.

Keep it Short

You are allowed to feature three app videos in the app store, but they are limited to 30 seconds each.

Enable Viewer Privacy

Remember to use dummy information if you are ever showing login or account information in your videos.

Respect Copyright Laws

Your app commercial can only show material that you are legal permitted to display, so don’t use any copyrighted music, video, logos, characters, etc.

Keep It Evergreen

Unless you want to update your video every few months, avoid mentioning specific events, dates or seasons (such as “Winter Special”). Also don’t mention pricing, since this is already viewable in the app store and may be incorrect when dealing with other currencies.

Check out these Sparkhouse app commercial examples:

Playworks Playbook App – Case Study

With this app video, we aimed to deeply engage the viewer by showing the results of the app (happy kids playing). We added embedded screenshots of the app, so that if there are UI updates, we can easily update and keep the ad fresh. We not only showed off what the app can do via screenshots, but also how it works.

Casino Room

These app ads were kept at 30 seconds for a quick and engaging experience. We used bold text and graphics to make sure the user could easily read the messaging. As you can see, this video works great with or without sound.

Our commercial video production team would love to help you with your app commercial video needs! Watch more of our past videos here — and when you’re ready to get started, simply fill out this New Project Form, and one of our producers will be in touch shortly!

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